1964 XLH Engine

The battery had 11.8 volts.  The water was low.  Front tire had 11 lbs., rear had 14 lbs.  Oil was black, primary oil a bit milky.  Dead bugs on the windshield and the carb stained with old sticky dry gasoline.  I wiped it off, did a bit of maintenance - it fired after about 10 kicks - and I rode it 12 miles on the superslab to Nashua, Iowa for a birthday party.  I hadn't ridden it for over a year really.  It felt small - rev'd high, wiggly - and a couple times I reached to my lower left, feeling for the jockey shift ball.  Rusty at best. 

On the return trip home, in the dark, with lightning strikes to the west, I headed west back home.  Up to speed on the on-ramp to 65+mph....I hit the high beam and it went dark.  Shit, high beam burnt out, back to low beam (which was pretty much shining on the ground).  I'd wait for speeding traffic to catch up - then pick it up to 75+mph to run with them and use their headlight, then as they'd get away, back down to 60-65mph - completely overdriving my headlight distance.  The headlight was too tight to move it as I reached up to mess with it at speed.  Only 8 miles to go anyway.

I made it to my driveway, just as I could now hear thunder - no rain yet.  I even got Cheryl to walk with me down to a high bridge on the river to watch Mother Nature's rapidly approaching light show.
As I wheeled this thing into the garage, I really felt pumped up after riding this thing again.  I miss it.
This motorcycle has taken me so many places over the years, and always gets me there and back.  It's been with me on so many adventures, and these early Sportsters are really awesome touring machines for the 2000 mile or less trips - which is about what I run anyway.  I'm currently in preparation for a traditional Labor Day Run as always . . . and just decided - the '64 is goin' this year.  Again. 

Above: Some slick haired gent named Kurpius snapped this years ago during The Dice Party at Kung Fu Tap & Taco in Des Moines, Iowa.  I had brought my tent, but I slept on the ground that night under the awning of the building???  All night I could hear mumbling, groaning, gagging, snoring, laughing, lighters clicking, beer tops popping - and other human created sounds.  The soft talkin' continued until the sun was shining . . . me and my motorcycle were covered in morning dew. 


Bastard said...

Bitchen Sportster there Rick...In 1969 fresh out of the Army, everybody including me wanted a Sportster.... The dealers in So.Cal were getting an extra $2-300 over list price and you had to order and wait. Back then there was no BS crap about it being a "girls bike". Times have certainly changed. But your Sportster still gets me thinkin'............

Noot said...

Now I'm gettin' a luggage rack (I restored a 60s Tour Pak) and I'm making a solo seat (original shape like a Hummer or XLCH) using a Hummer seat pan. A couple chrome springs - rack, detach Tour Pak....I'm gettin' old ! Damn !